Reviewed on PC

ULTIMA IX

Reviewed By: Daniel Piels
VOLUNTEER GUEST REVIEWER
GAME TECH INFO

Computer Platform: PC
Produced by: Origin
Price Range: $40
Age level: 13+
ESRB Rating: Mature
Patches / Upgrades: at game Web site
System Requirements: Min. 266 MHz PII, 64 MB RAM, 8x CD-ROM, 8 MB 3D graphics Accel. with DirectDraw and Direct 3D or Glide compatible driver

Genre: RPG
Christian Rating: 3 of 5
   (some objectionable elements)
Gameplay: 4 of 5
   (good)
Violence: 3 of 5
   (mild)
Adult Content: 3 of 5
   (mild)

"Ultima IX" finishes the “Ultima” series started nearly 20 years ago by game creator Richard Garriot.

Box art for 'Ultima 9'
In this Role Playing Game, you control "The Avatar", a Christ-like figure that arrives in Britain (the game world) to save them from pending doom. The forces of darkness, led by a mysterious creature known only as "The Guardian", plot against your success.

Interestingly, you journey the countryside, speaking with the people and cleansing their towns of corrupt virtues. Players will learn about Honor, Sacrifice and Justice, only to name a few. I could not help but feel rather Christian in my quest to help people see the errors of their ways.

Screenshot of Virtues from 'Ultima IX' However, there are some elements of the game that are questionable. Violence does play a part, along with the consumption of alcohol. On several occasions, I had opportunities to participate in "adult activities" with consenting women. Needless to say, I abstained. Finally, there are elements of the supernatural—you have access to "magic spells", which fortunately you may choose to not use.

I think the game is ok for adults to play, and possibly mature teenagers. When my children are old enough, I plan on playing this game again with them and discussing the Avatar's actions with respect to Christ and his followers—something the game designers probably never intended!

In conclusion, this is a satisfactory game that allows the player to emulate a Christian lifestyle while enjoying a very rich story.

Year of Release—1999



User Comments   [ Send Yours ]


Positive—I don't know why you guys might think this game is bad. The game rules and is like, one of the best I've ever played apart from Black & White. I derived much enjoyment from Ultima IX, and agree that you have to know the history of the original Ultimas. The magic was great, because you could just use it instead of getting hurt engaging in hand to hand combat. The story was excellent. My Ratings: [5/5]
   —Phil Rowe, age 16

I think it's important to note that the creator (Richard Garriott) of the game sees the Avatar as an “ethical” character, not a moral one… i.e. right and wrong are defined by the individual's motives and the result of their actions, rather than being defined by God. Garriott should be commended for originally developing a series of games where the ultimate goal is to be the best “avatar” you can be, but his worldview is distinctly non-Christian. My Ratings: [3/3]
   —Lane Denson, age 28

Those aren't tarot cards. They are cards that represent the virtues, very little similarity to tarot cards other than that they are cards. As far as the game, it's fun but it would be better if DirectX wasn't written-in last minute (thus it's very buggy). My Ratings: [4/4]
   —Scott Watts, age 23

I don't believe that the reviewer of this game has sufficient expertise to review the game correctly. As he stated, Ultima 9 is the last part of the 20 year Ultima saga, and as such reviewing Ultima 9 as a stand-alone game is like reviewing te final chapter of a book. The use of so called “magic spells” in Ultima is actually a part of a predetermined form of science, and has nothing to do with traditional “magic”. This pseudo science was established in previous ultimas, and so it is not surprising that they would seem mystical to him. He is correct about the sexual content with women… in the entire game there is only 1 woman who will proposition you, and that's only if you find her. (She's in an obscure portion of the game). The other woman is the love interest of the game, and while the content is slightly sexual, nothing explicit happens. I personally did not find it offensive. If you're looking for a non-objectional fantasy medieval game, this is the best you're going to get. The entire series of games pretty much follows the same tradition back to Ultima 4. Before that, technology made the games very limited, and so many things were left unexplained. My Ratings: [5/5]
   —Dave Jamison, age 22

Well, if you liked that one you should try Ultima IV through Ultima VII, though you may not like Ultima 8 much. Some of the older ones have trouble running on new computers. Richard Garriot created the Virtues in Ultima 4 after being hounded by various religious groups that Ultimas 1-3 were satanic or evil or something like that. In 4, called the Quest of the Avatar, the 3 principles of Truth, Love and Courage as well as the 8 virtues of Honesty, Compassion, Valor, Justice, Sacrifice, Honor, Spirituality and Humility are detailed greatly as the would-be Avatar strives to become pure. In 5, the Avatar is called to Britannia once again to stop Lord Blackthorn, who has imposed the virtues so strictly upon the land that he has made them into their opposites, and he must battle with the three shadowlords, the embodiments of the antiprinciples of Falsehood, Hate, and Cowardice. In Ultima 6 the avatar is called yet again to aid in stopping the encroaching Gargoyle invasion as they plague Britannia, and he must find out about the horrible consequences to some of his past actions in trying to bring good to the world, and he must make it right again. It just gets better from there, though 8 strayed slightly from the virtues. My Ratings: [3/5]
   —A. Mous, non-Christian

I can't see how you got that kind of impression from this game, because when my brother bought it for me for christmas. I opened the box and saw all of those pagan symbols and even tarot cards. Then I played it for a little while and found out that the same symbols that I saw when I opened the box were throughout a lot of the game. If you had ever seen or heard of the other ultima games you would see a lot of occult rituals. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. My Ratings: [2/4]
   —Clay Leatherwood, age 16

I find it HIGHLY amusing that you deem it questionable to consume alcohol but think it is all fine and dandy to partake in the reading of Tarot Cards in the beginning of the game to decide on your future… My Ratings: [3/5]
   —Matthew van der Walt, age 16


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.

Review supplied by Christian Spotlight Guide2Games, a ministry of Films for Christ. Copyright © Films for Christ. Spotlight's URL: http://ChristianSpotlight.com E-mail usMailing address: PO Box 1167, Marysville WA 98270-1167, USA • “Christian Spotlight’s Guide to Games” and “Guide2Games” are service marks of Films for Christ.

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